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Link Farm

A link farm (also called link network and link farm in English) is a domain or web portal, which was especially created to provide links to other websites in order to influence the positioning of linked web pages. Hence link farming denotes the accumulation of outbound links on a web page that references many different web sites or individual web pages.

General information

Link farms are often used by web operators for the purpose of getting their web sites as high as possible in search engine rankings.

Link farms are easily recognizable, since they usually consist of a website with little content, but with a large number of external links sometimes found in the footer. The relevance of text content and HREF links play an important role, as search engines have the ability to identify link networks as such and take countermeasures. Link networks are considered a violation of search engine guidelines and they will be penalized in case of being discovered. Link farming is black hat SEO.

Link farms are very different from link building or web projects such as online business directories. Anyway, the links are caused here in addition. Regardless, link building is the incorporation of links in an editorial context, that is, the combination of good content and quality references. Business or online directories are concerned with the collection of useful information that is used to obtain hard-to-find data that would otherwise have to be collected by users themselves in elaborate Internet searches.

Link farm structure

Link farms are many times websites that do not contain any relevant content and only serve to build links. Websites that are exclusively dedicated to link cultivation can also be called link networks. These sites are useless for visitors, since their only purpose is to refer to other websites and thus increase their link popularity. They are supposed to increase the Page Rank based on the number of links that refer to the web page in question.

Until a few years ago, these methods worked, but search engines are getting better at identifying spam, link networks, and other black hat methods to explore techniques like cloaking. [1] The use of link farms is targeted by Google and is considered spam. If a link farm is detected, it will appear at the bottom of search results or will be removed entirely from the search engine's index, and therefore users will no longer be able to access it.

Relevance for SEO

At the same time, Google will penalize any other web portal that was connected to said link farm, since previously identified network links are generally considered harmful. Google not only evaluates the number of links, but also their quality. A mindless abundance of links that are in no way related to the content of the web page are devalued by search engines, and then it will negatively affect your rankings.[2]

As a consequence, the linked websites will slide in the search results lists. This happens quite regularly and website operators and agency clients are well advised to refrain from this type of black hat SEO or if need be to inform their hired agency that they are looking for natural link building. If you already have link farm links, they should be identified and removed. This requires a detailed analysis of the backlinks first, and then all malicious links have to be removed manually. A reconsideration request can then be submitted to Google.


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